Six former attorneys general, a former solicitor general and dozens of former U.S. Attorneys are pushing for a more lenient sentence for an Iowa meatpacking plant executive who was convicted of federal bank fraud.
Sholom Rubashkin, the former chief executive of Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, was convicted in November of 86 counts of bank fraud. The charges stem in part from a high profile raid in May 2008, where federal agents arrested hundreds of workers at the Agriprocessors plant on federal immigration charges. In connection with that raid, About 300 workers were convicted of identity theft and several managers were convicted of felony charges for harboring illegal immigrants, according to The New York Times.
Although federal prosecutors dismissed the immigration-related charges against Rubashkin, they are seeking a life sentence for his conviction on bank fraud charges.
On Wednesday, the federal judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Linda R. Reade in the Northern District of Iowa, heard arguments at a day-long sentencing hearing. That hearing will continue today and the judge is expected to issue a sentence in three to four weeks, according to JTA, a news wire that covers current events and issues of interest to Jewish people.
In a letter to the judge earlier this week, the former DOJ officials argued against a life sentence for Rubashkin.
“We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence — or anything close to it — for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender whose case involves many mitigating factors and whose personal history and extraordinary family circumstances suggest that a sentence of a modest number of years could and would be more than sufficient to serve any and all applicable sentencing purposes,” the letter reads.
The letter was signed by former Attorneys General Janet Reno, William Barr, Richard Thornburgh, Edwin Meese III, Ramsey Clark and Nicholas Katzenbach, among others.
The case is being prosecuted by Matthew J. Cole, Peter E. Deegan Jr. and Charles J. Williams of the Northern District of Iowa U.S. Attorney’s office.